Friday 13 February 2015

Restaurant Review: Shoreditch Street Food Market

Every other Tuesday lunchtime last year I was going to a school in Tower Hamlets - a generally underpriviledged borough of London - as a volunteer. I helped a ten-year-old boy with his reading; there are a few of us volunteers, each partnered with a child who needs additional support. I think it's a great programme and hopefully makes a difference to the children. This year I'm about to start at a different school and don't know what age child I will be partnered with yet.
On my way there I always passed the Shoreditch street food market and looked in longingly, but I've already had my lunch at my desk. At the end of term when I didn't have to go to the school I decided to go to the market for lunch instead.

I know street food markets are really trendy and popular, and a great way to try new flavours or combinations, but to be honest they were never really my thing. First of all, I want to be able to sit down while I am eating, and secondly if I'm going to paying more than £7 or £8 for a meal, I want it to come on a plate with cutlery and preferably be served by waiters! I know this is missing the point of street food a bit but I'm about as far removed from a Shoreditch market as you can get - I always feel rather out of place in Shoreditch.

I decided that wouldn't stop me enjoying some good food from the likes of Yalla Yalla, a Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurant with two London locations that also has a pop-up at this street food market, or Street Kitchen, a metal Airstream motorhome serving seasonal street food. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see the market was partly under cover, but best of all had chairs and tables - so no having to worry about juggling your purse and a paper plate and dropping half the relish out of your hot dog as you try and eat one-handed.

There weren't all that many food stalls, if I discounted the ones that were predominantly ice cream or cocktails (though that would make for a lovely summer's evening). After an initial recce, and deciding not to have a burger if I could help it, I settled on a burrito from Freebird Burritos. I had it quite plain just with sour cream so I guess it was a little bland but I didn't like the other options that came with it as I'm really fussy! I enjoyed it but wanted something else too and then spotted this:

A stall selling churros, which were pumped out on demand into the hot oil. They were really good but the portion was far too large for me to eat by myself so unfortunately some of it went to waste!

The good thing about street markets is that they are fast and give you the opportunity to try different types of foods at low prices, but for me, I will always prefer a restaurant or café where you can sit indoors and have waiter service!

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